Books  |    |  October 8, 2019

Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control

Book by Stuart Russell.
Published by Viking.
352 pages.

A leading artificial intelligence researcher lays out a new approach to AI that will enable us to coexist successfully with increasingly intelligent machines.

In the popular imagination, superhuman artificial intelligence is an approaching tidal wave that threatens not just jobs and human relationships, but civilization itself. Conflict between humans and machines is seen as inevitable and its outcome all too predictable.

In this groundbreaking book, distinguished AI researcher Stuart Russell argues that this scenario can be avoided, but only if we rethink AI from the ground up. Russell begins by exploring the idea of intelligence in humans and in machines. He describes the near-term benefits we can expect, from intelligent personal assistants to vastly accelerated scientific research, and outlines the AI breakthroughs that still have to happen before we reach superhuman AI. He also spells out the ways humans are already finding to misuse AI, from lethal autonomous weapons to viral sabotage.

If the predicted breakthroughs occur and superhuman AI emerges, we will have created entities far more powerful than ourselves. How can we ensure they never, ever, have power over us? Russell suggests that we can rebuild AI on a new foundation, according to which machines are designed to be inherently uncertain about the human preferences they are required to satisfy. Such machines would be humble, altruistic, and committed to pursue our objectives, not theirs. This new foundation would allow us to create machines that are provably deferential and provably beneficial.

Table of Contents

  • If we succeed
  • Intelligence in humans and machines
  • How might AI progress in the future?
  • Misuses of AI
  • Overly intelligent AI
  • The not-so-great AI debate
  • AI : a different approach
  • Provably beneficial AI
  • Complications : us
  • Problem solved?
  • Appendix A: Searching for solutions
  • Appendix B: Knowledge and logic
  • Appendix C: Uncertainty and probability
  • Appendix D: Learning from experience.

About the Author

Stuart Russell is a professor of Computer Science and holder of the Smith-Zadeh Chair in Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as the Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on AI and Robotics and as an advisor to the United Nations on arms control. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the author (with Peter Norvig) of the definitive and universally acclaimed textbook on AI, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach.

Interview with Stuart Russell about the book: https://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/fall-2019/berkeley-expert-warns-ai-is-heading-for-a-cliff